Professor emeritus Roger Kendall, a systematic musicologist who taught for 30 years at UCLA, first in the department of music and then in the department of ethnomusicology, died Feb. 16, in Phoenix, Arizona. He was 65.
Born in Leawood, Kansas, Kendall led one of the nation’s only programs dedicated to the scientific study of music. He was an international authority in the music psychology community, with numerous published articles and book chapters on perception of meaning in film music, musical timbre and acoustics, among other topics.
“Roger Kendall was one of our faculty for many years and one of the leaders in developing our program in systematic musicology,” said Steven Loza, UCLA professor and chair of the ethnomusicology department. “He will be sorely missed by all of us at UCLA for he was a gifted scholar and scientist and a man of integrity and honesty.” Loza said a campus memorial service for Kendall is being planned for this fall.
Kendall is best known for the music experiment development system, a computer program he developed in the 1990s that enables flexible and easy design of perceptual experiments. It was the first program of its kind to be accessible to a broad audience and is used in labs around the world.
He also co-edited the 2013 book “The Psychology of Music in Multimedia,” which he considered to be the end product of his life’s work. The book, published by Oxford University Press United Kingdom, grew from interactions with others interested in empirical approaches to multimedia. His chapter contributions relate to a keynote that he gave at a conference on sound that included media and involved the work he had done to experimentally investigate how and why particular music parameters are used in a film music sequence.
Kendall also served on the advisory board of the International Conference of Music Perception and Cognition and as a consulting editor for the journal Music Perception for 15 years.
Kendall retired from UCLA in 2014. He is survived by a sister, Sherri Kendall Yohe, and one nephew.